Have you ever met someone or found yourself saying something like this?
There were many times when I was judged by someone right off the bat, and what would hurt was that this person assumed my characteristics/ behavior patterns were due to my being asians. How dare he/she. This led me to defend myself by saying I was actually white-washed and unlike the ‘asians’ this person had met before. I wanted to be viewed as loud, crazy, and unpredictable, and not this quiet, non-opinionated, submissive woman.
I thought it was clever, let people know how ‘white’ you are by demonstrating your hatred or discontent for other asians, especially my Korean culture. But long two year trip to South Korea made me think about this term in another way.
I was in Korea, and the people never asked me this question, because obviously, I looked Korean. No one gave a shit. Except, well, myself. I didn’t have to prove to anyone that I was ‘white-washed’ or not ‘Korean’. No one cared. And then I thought, why do I care so much about what other people think about me?
No one likes to be judged based on the color of their skin. Even asians. And especially, asians who have been born, grown up and have lived their entire lives in a country that does not fit their profile. Yes, it sucks, but that doesn’t mean we need to abandon our culture or look down upon it.
In the states, I think we have this view that our asian background is not American enough. It says freedom to be who we are, but really, people don’t want to know about our culture. 5 years ago, South Korea was barely known by the general population of American. Now, at least, we’re associated with North Korea, Psy, and K-pop.
Looking back at myself, I didn’t think this meant too much. But the meaning behind those words meant something deeper that I slowly started to understand, once I heard other friends of mine refer to themselves as a ‘banana’ or a ‘twinkie’. The real question is, why do you want to be white? And why is this so important to assert this? We should embrace our culture, and our American culture, or the soil we grew up in, but we should never be ashamed of ourselves, because, at the end of the day, you’re still Korean physically. And that won’t change.
Isn’t it silly when you meet someone who doesn’t identify with their own race? It’s a little funny because it is! France does a great job of accepting both cultures. It’s time, we stop wanting others to see ourselves as something other than asian.
Sure, I consider myself a little ghetto at times; I’ll walk around with no shoes on out in public in sweats, talk with a little bit of a slang, because I like it, I’ve grown up with hip-hop music. But for the love of God, I will not say I’m black. Just like I won’t say I am more ‘white’ than ‘asian’. Why? Because I am just me. You don’t hear Sik-E saying he’s ghetto or really a black guy. You don’t hear Rich Chigga tryin’ to let people know he’s ACTUALLY more black than an asian. He just owns it, even with his fanny pack.
Which brings me to my next point, if I date a guy, and he happens to be white. I don’t just like ‘white guys’. And for the caucasian guys, don’t say you have ‘yellow-fever’ or be this guy. You just like what you like. When I was dating a German guy, oddly enough, when people asked me if he was white, I would say he’s German, and people associated it as two different things. Are white guys suppose to be from America? Should I call my ex boyfriend a European guy now?
Can we just stop with the goddam labels? It’s making me confused. Why can’t people just like other people, be who they are, and not get asked stupid questions.
I think if we start acting this way, people would stop acting like being born ‘Asian’ is such an uncool thing. If it helps, we have Crazy Rich Asian now.
Anyway, what do you think? Should we just stop using this dumb words that ‘identify’ us? Have you experienced something similar? How do you deal with someone assuming your ‘asian-ness’? What do you think about other people calling themselves ‘white-washed’?
If you’re not asian, has anyone said this to you? What did you think when someone said this to you?